Social Distancing


As it turns out my practice and my art drove me into social isolation a long time ago.
As always I'm the last to know. It takes a pandemic and the term social distancing to
me realize the life I’ve lived for some time now. I've never thrived in the social. I've
always been more of a one on one kind of guy. I like the kind of relationships where
the elements of our uniqueness get dissolved in the act of that kind of communion.
I used to take communion in Catholic church. It's taken me years to even ponder
what the act is even about. The deeper spiritual and experiential metaphor of the act
escapes most these days. We don't live in a culture that presents it as part of itself. 
The result was, as an altar boy at the ripe old age of twelve, me and Johnny Aldono
would commune with the sacrificial wine before the 9 am mass at St Joe's church in Athens,
Georgia while the priest was distracted with his ceremonial vestments instead of teaching
us the fine art of communion from a place within. I remember stumbling through my candle
holding duties many a Sunday morn feeling piously removed from the whole thing.
I still feel removed but without the wine. 

As hard as I fought to be accepted and have a public life and career, it turns out a
deeper interior motivation won out and I thankfully didn't get one.
It would have been a disaster. I always say all my dreams came true because my d
reams didn't come true.  The acceptance of this is like swimming alone in a dreamy
river of grace experiencing everything without effort. It's taken an entire lifetime to
learn how to do nothing-which is really everything incognito. I fell through my failed
effort to the land of the heart by default. Through the ending I found a new beginning I
had no idea existed. It was, in spite of myself, my deepest seeded motivation. Again I was t
he last to know. So I'm grateful. I am grateful for the bitterness and limitations I have received. 
These were the rocks this interior river had to find its way through to a new sea.
The science of water always wins. We are always on the dharma wheel of fortune
even though most of the time we are in complete denial of it. Success may have had its
virtues but would have ultimately torn me away from the contemplative, that in hindsight,
I so desperately needed and wanted. What I craved was intimacy- an intimacy with life, self
and emotions limitation. It's still what gets me out of bed in the morning though it's taken me
years to realize its undertakings.


This virus thing is a great opportunity to sit in our limitations and see what remains.


So it seems this new norm has been my way of life for quite some time now. The ornery, spiritual
and the creative have a way of self isolation bereft of even the most normal social graces.
I prefer the company of a good dog to that of most human beings these days. I guess I'm getting
older and my presumed usefulness is not really needed much anymore. What's really needed is silence
-from that -all springs forth eternal.


At this point I'm notoriously unemployable in the construct of society in general. I do have my
people to commune with though the list is short. There is a couple spiritual confidants, my wife, a
son, a dog, an old best friend from Montana whose spirit and aura are as big as the universe itself,
several construction buddies who have done their time in the trenches with behaviors so deplorable
they would make Damion blush, and a few fishing friends who give me great pause when I think
I might be capable of surviving far from the trickle down dumpster diving lifestyle I have lived for
more than 40 years now. For an artist in America trickle down does work if you have the ability to be
halfway humble, willing and discrete in your quest for the grandiose. The grandiose is what keeps the
muse going. The humble is the realization that I could barely put a box of saltines on the table at this
point.I'm equal parts beggar and extortioner, lucky that in the middle years I worked like a blind, ambitious, f
fucking maniac, possessed. Thank God for a strong muse and a strong back. This life of a tightrope walker
is not easy. A hair raising high-wire act balancing between the absurdly eccentric and the practical is not
for the faint of heart. It's a study in finding the point between effort and grace. Thank God yoga practice
taught me what I was doing here. There is always a trade off...always. To enjoy a big life is to know what
compromise and failure look like and accept your place.  To enjoy a contemplative life one has to serve
bitterness and sweetness both at the same time… who the fuck does that?...here in this culture it means
being somewhat of an outcast.

In the end the tightrope walker is up there alone. But in that isolation a door swings open into
a communion with a new realm. One where the tree and the morning dove talk back, one where
the migration of dreams moves north and south along rivers caught in a primal flux realized as oneself.
It's a realm that can't really be spoken. Balancing there in its isolation, it wakes  in the corner smiling.

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